Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

Defending and preserving cultural diversity: “Affirming cultures and identities is everybody’s business”

Mme Liza Frulla, ministre du Patrimoine canadien, Mexico, le 23 août 2004 - 2004/08/23

As a participant in the Second Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities in Mexico City, Canadian Heritage minister Liza Frulla penned an article in Le Devoir asserting that “culture and identity are at the heart of today’s major debates.” According to the minister, “the issue is huge—it’s about participating in the move toward globalization while at the same time affirming our cultures, without which our identities would weaken and our world would become more and more uniform.” Consequently, she adds, each government must “encourage the expression of its culture and identity in the context of globalization.” In this regard, Ms Frulla stresses that apart from ministers of culture, nongovernmental organizations and cultural administrators have also helped lend greater resonance to efforts to defend the culture and identity of peoples. For example, Canada has come to be “an ardent defender of this cause” in the forums it enjoys access to through membership in the Commonwealth, the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), and the Organization of American States (OAS). In addition, she asserts, “Since the third Summit of the Americas in Québec City in 2001, a consensus has emerged on the important issue of cultural sovereignty. […] Our heads of state clearly acknowledged that by respecting our respective cultures, we contribute to the economic and social vitality of our societies and to the promotion of fundamental principles such as good governance, social cohesion, human development and peace. […] We believe it is essential for the Americas and the Caribbean to take an active role in the UNESCO initiative to develop the International Convention on the Protection of Cultural Content and Artistic Expression.” According to Ms Frulla, not only must “the Convention set clear rules establishing a coherent environment for trade in cultural goods and services,” it must also “serve as an instrument to protect culture and identity in the digital age and promote fair remuneration for artists.” [69] (Available in French)